Best Online Master’s in Communication Programs of 2022

Earning an advanced communications degree may give you a competitive edge for promotions and executive positions. A concentration can allow you to specialize your expertise.

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by Victoria Leigh

Published on January 4, 2022 · Updated on May 4, 2022

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Excellent communication skills apply to a host of career paths. Graduate school provides an advanced study of communications and allows you to seek out job opportunities as a manager, director, or supervisor in marketing, public relations, and other fields.

Consider 10 of the best online master's in communications programs below. After the program rankings, keep reading to uncover further details about this degree, including curriculum content, admission requirements, and potential career paths.

As every business and industry competes for visibility and consumer loyalty, skilled communications professionals are in high demand. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of public relations and fundraising managers will likely grow 13% between 2020 and 2030, which is faster than average. Jobs for marketing managers will also likely grow 10% in that time, the BLS projects. Market research analyst jobs are anticipated to grow by a staggering 22%.

Although a bachelor's degree satisfies minimum requirements for entry-level positions in these fields, earning a master's can increase your competitiveness in both hiring and promotion decisions.

2022 Best Accredited Online Master's in Communication Programs

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#1 Online College in California

University of Southern California

School Information
Location Los Angeles, California
Admission Rate 11%
Graduation Rate 92%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior Colleges and University Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 17% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $2,040
Out of State | $2,040

Credits to Graduate
32

USC's online master's in communication management offers a generalist curriculum and three optional focus areas: marketing communication, market research and analytics, and strategic and organizational communication. By taking two courses per semester, full-time students can graduate in just 16 months.

Graduates join a global network of more than 15,000 USC Anneberg alumni. Program admission requires a completed bachelor's degree, a resume, a statement of purpose, a writing sample, and two letters of recommendation.

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#2 Online College in Maryland

Johns Hopkins University

School Information
Location Baltimore, Maryland
Admission Rate 11%
Graduation Rate 93%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Semester
In State | $29,360
Out of State | $29,360

Credits to Graduate
30

The Johns Hopkins online master's in communication teaches students to critically interpret theory, evaluate scientific communication research, and develop effective content. Six optional concentrations cover topics, such as corporate and nonprofit communication, health communication, and applied research in communication.

No in-person components are required, but learners can complete a local practicum if desired. Prospective students need a bachelor's degree and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Program-specific admission requirements include a statement of purpose and a brief writing sample.

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#3 Online College in Florida

University of Florida

School Information
Location Gainesville, Florida
Admission Rate 37%
Graduation Rate 88%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 46% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $490-$890
Out of State | $490-$890

Credits to Graduate
33-37

UF's online master's in global strategic communication offers eight concentrations, such as audience analytics, political communication, digital strategy, and web design. Requiring between 33-37 credits, this graduate degree focuses on building competitive career skills.

An advisory board of industry leaders works to ensure the program meets the current needs and evolving challenges of global strategic communication. Admission requires a completed bachelor's degree, a 3.0 GPA, a statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation.

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#4 Online College in Florida

Florida International University

School Information
Location Miami, Florida
Admission Rate 58%
Graduation Rate 63%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 68% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost for Program
In State | $25,000
Out of State | $25,000

Credits to Graduate
30

FIU online offers a fully remote master's in mass communication with a global strategic communication track. The program trains globally minded and socially responsible communication leaders for roles at the highest levels of the corporate, government, and nonprofit industries.

The 30-credit curriculum offers completion times as brief as 12 months. Prospective students must hold a bachelor's degree and submit GRE scores, two letters of recommendation, a resume, and a professional goals essay. 

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#5 Online College in Indiana

Purdue University

School Information
Location West Lafayette, Indiana
Admission Rate 60%
Graduation Rate 82%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 22% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $520
Out of State | $820

Credits to Graduate
30

Taught by award-winning industry experts, Purdue's online master's in communication teaches students to develop branding and messaging strategies across local, national, and international platforms. The highly customizable curriculum requires just three core courses.

Available concentration tracks include strategic communication/public relations, integrated communication and advertising, communication and leadership, and health communication. Admission requires a completed bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA, industry experience, resume, a statement of purpose, and three letters of recommendation.

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#6 Online College in Massachusetts

Northeastern University

School Information
Location Boston, Massachusetts
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes New England Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 52% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $790
Out of State | $790

Credits to Graduate
45

Learners can pursue Northeastern's online master's in corporate and organizational communication on a part- or full-time basis, graduating in 12-18 months. The program offers six concentrations, including cross-cultural communication, leadership, social media, and project management.

This degree integrates experiential learning opportunities in the student's own workplace or through a faculty-supervised, virtual consulting project. Admission requirements include a completed bachelor's degree, a statement of purpose, a resume, and two letters of recommendation.

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#7 Online College in District of Columbia

American University

School Information
Location Washington, District of Columbia
Admission Rate 36%
Graduation Rate 79%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 20% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $1,810
Out of State | $1,810

Credits to Graduate
30

AU's online master's in strategic communication offers specialization tracks in two areas: advocacy and social impact or digital communication strategies and analytics. The program's final capstone requires designing, developing, and completing a research study on a communication issue of the student's choice.

This full-time degree allows for completion in 20 months. Prospective students need a completed bachelor's degree in any discipline. AU recommends a minimum 3.0 undergraduate GPA for admission.

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#8 Online College in Georgia

University of Georgia

School Information
Location Athens, Georgia
Admission Rate 45%
Graduation Rate 87%
Accreditation Yes Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
Percent Online Enrollment 14% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $630
Out of State | $630

Credits to Graduate
33

UGA's online master's in journalism and mass communication accommodates students from a variety of educational and professional backgrounds. The emerging media concentration focuses on development, design, and project management of the latest interactive digital media formats.

All students complete an emerging media capstone project, such as product development, design research publication, or a client-based project. Program admission requires a completed bachelor's degree, a minimum 3.0 GPA, a resume, a statement of purpose and goals, and three letters of recommendation.

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#9 Online College in Illinois

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

School Information
Location Champaign, Illinois
Admission Rate 59%
Graduation Rate 85%
Accreditation Yes Higher Learning Commission
Percent Online Enrollment 39% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

100% Online | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Credit
In State | $920
Out of State | $920

Credits to Graduate
32

The online master's in strategic brand communication at Illinois offers an interdisciplinary education through the Gies College of Business and the Sandage Department of Advertising. Graduates understand how to grow an organization's revenue through the latest marketing techniques and strategies.

Each student completes a professional capstone project, involving research, analysis, and campaign evaluation. Admission requires a completed bachelor's degree. Illinois evaluates prospective students based on work and educational experience, GPA, statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation.

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#10 Online College in New York

Syracuse University

School Information
Location Syracuse, New York
Admission Rate 44%
Graduation Rate 83%
Instituation Type Private
Accreditation Yes Middle States Commission on Higher Education
Percent Online Enrollment 15% Percentage of all students who are enrolled online.

Hybrid | Scheduled Classes

Avg. Cost per Semester
In State | $11,780
Out of State | $11,780

Credits to Graduate
33

Syracuse's online master's in communications offers concentrations in public relations, advertising, journalism innovation, and media management. While courses take place entirely online, students must attend two in-person, weekend-long immersions scheduled throughout the program.

Admission requires a completed bachelor's degree, a resume, a personal statement, and three letters of recommendation. Syracuse also requires participation in an online video interview. Graduates can access the Newhouse Network alumni database, which boasts over 5,800 communications industry contacts.

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What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Communications Program?

Bachelor's degrees aim to provide students with comprehensive foundational knowledge and skills in their chosen major. Master's degrees offer a narrower approach to academics, zeroing in on a specific area within a larger discipline — strategic communications, corporate communications, or marketing communications, for example.

The core curriculum content you encounter during your online master's in communication will vary according to its focus. Students in one program may take an organizational communication course, while others work through a brand management class. Available concentrations, discussed below, provide further opportunity for customization of your degree.

Regardless of focus or concentration, every master's in communication works toward similar overarching goals. Graduates are prepared to enter the workforce with the knowledge and abilities required to meet communication challenges, craft and deliver effective messages, and adapt consistently in a changing digital landscape.

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Communications Program?

Theory of Communication

This course introduces students to modern theories of communication, including persuasion, public relations, interpersonal communication, and mass communication. Students learn how theory is applied to research, practice, and literature, as well as how to apply theory to their own interests in the field.

Strategic and Corporate Communication

This course introduces students to principles of strategic and corporate communication. Topics may include evaluating and developing communication campaigns, identifying and targeting audiences, and communicating with stakeholders. Students gain a solid understanding of how to implement effective communication campaigns and media strategies in business.

Digital Media Storytelling

Students in a digital media storytelling class learn how to assemble engaging material using digital media tools. Coursework includes readings and hands-on assignments to discuss narrative and persuasive styles; examine theoretical issues; and hone skills such as crafting stories for online platforms and social media.

Communication Research Methods

This course teaches students how to find, read, interpret, evaluate, and apply scientific research to solve problems in the field of communications. Common topics include effective use of library scholarship; interpretation of qualitative and quantitative findings; and the significance of research methods such as focus groups, case studies, and surveys.

Capstone or Thesis

The majority of online master's programs in communication require students to complete a culminating experience. Depending on the program, this requirement may be satisfied by a capstone project or a thesis that integrates theory, research, hands-on experience, and real-world application.

Related Master's in Communications Degree Concentrations

Political Communication

A concentration in political communication prepares graduates for careers as media consultants, campaign communications managers, social media strategists, or public affairs strategists. Coursework commonly covers speechwriting, digital political strategy, audience engagement and mobilization, and communication ethics.

Digital Communication/Strategy

A concentration in digital communication or digital strategy provides students with the foundational knowledge required to succeed in careers focused on online marketing, audience engagement, and customer conversion. Hands-on assignments and coursework cover topics such as creation of compelling copy, lead generation, branding, web development, and ethics.

Marketing Communication

A concentration in marketing communication prepares students for careers in advertising, public relations, and sales. Students learn to develop and create integrated marketing campaigns with strategic objectives, clearly defined audiences, and measurable ROI results. Brand management, organizational communication, and leadership may also be discussed.

Public Relations

This concentration provides a comprehensive overview of the steps required to execute a public relations campaign, including pitching, planning, and budgeting. Students may also take courses on crisis communication, ethics and corporate social responsibility, and strategic writing. Graduates are prepared for careers as public relations directors, brand ambassadors, and event coordinators.

Health Communication

A concentration in health communication prepares graduates for careers as health communications specialists in a number of industries, including government, private healthcare, insurance, medical device manufacturing, and healthcare publishing. Coursework covers health policy and advocacy, medical journalism, science writing, and public health administration.

What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Communications Program?

Prior to beginning any master's program, applicants must graduate with a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. For an online master's in communication, students do not typically need a related undergraduate major, although schools may prefer transcripts that show completion of relevant coursework. A few select schools offer dual BA/MA programs.

A majority of master's degrees either prefer or require applicants to demonstrate a minimum 2.5-3.0 GPA on undergraduate coursework. Depending on the school, a minimum requirement may apply to the applicant's cumulative GPA or only to the grade achieved in the last 60 semester credits (two years) of their bachelor's.

To better evaluate the abilities of applicants, some schools request or require the submission of standardized test scores. Minimum scores may not be explicitly mentioned in admission guidelines. Depending on the school, you may qualify for an exemption from this requirement based on your undergraduate GPA.

Understandably, graduate schools seek out prospective communications students with strong writing skills. Many admissions guidelines include a requirement for an essay, writing sample, and/or personal statement. These provide applicants with an opportunity to address their qualifications and to discuss how the program aligns with their personal and professional goals.

While not a common entrance requirement for online master's in communication programs, some schools seek applicants with relevant employment history. Prior internships, paid positions, or volunteer work in communications are valuable for applicants who completed their undergraduate study in an unrelated discipline.

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What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Communications?

Graduates with an online master's in communication commonly pursue leadership positions in a number of industries, including business and marketing, government and political communication, journalism and media, and healthcare. Individuals with less interest in a corporate work environment may consider completing a doctorate to work as a postsecondary educator.

Licensure is not typically required to pursue employment or advancement in communication. Rather, years of experience and proven results lead to upward mobility. However, those seeking employment as a communications teacher in a high school will need to satisfy state-specific requirements for teaching certification.

Communications Careers

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Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Communication Programs

What can I do with a master's in communications?

Completing an online master's in communications results in advanced, transferable skills that allow professionals to pursue work in business, politics, journalism and media, and healthcare. A few potential job titles for graduates include marketing manager, market research analyst, human resource manager, and public relations manager.

How much can you make with a master's in communications?

Income rates for communications professionals can vary widely according to industry, employer, job title, experience, and geographic location. The BLS provides the following 2020 data on median salaries for popular communications careers nationwide: $141,490 (marketing manager), $118,430 (public relations manager), $67,120 (writers and authors).

Is communications a good career?

Communication intersects with and impacts everything — individual personal choices, consumer habits, global events. Of course, what makes a "good career" is highly subjective, but in a field as broad as communication, you can pursue a range of opportunities with excellent pay and potential for job growth.

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